¿ Alizyme plc, of Cambridge, England, said preclinical studies of its obesity treatment, ATL-962, indicated that it had similar efficacy to F. Hoffmann-La Roche's lipase inhibitor, Xenical. Alizyme said ATL-962 is the only other lipase inhibitor in development, and is attracting attention from potential licensees. No toxicity was observed in the studies and the company says it has established a low-cost production process.

¿ Oxagen Ltd., of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, is extending its collaboration with the University of Oxford into the genetic basis of inflammatory bowel disease. The research will be funded by a government grant worth #300,000. Oxagen is using its proprietary high-throughput genotyping technologies to analyze samples from IBD sufferers and their families to identify disease markers and genes that are associated with the disease and are co-inherited with it.

¿ PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc, of Oxford, England, said it started the first European trial of a DNA vaccine in healthy volunteers, exploring the safety and immunogenicity of a DNA malaria vaccine delivered by the company's needle-free injection system. PowderJect is now carrying out three trials of DNA vaccines. One, of a hepatitis B vaccine, was the first to elicit an immune response with a DNA vaccine. The second trial at the University of Wisconsin is evaluating a DNA vaccine for skin cancer.

¿ SR Pharma plc, of London, released details of a Phase I/II trial on the effect of SRL172 in allergic asthma, showing a significant effect in reducing constriction of airways. SRL172 is an immune system potentiator that is in Phase III in lung cancer and also is being developed as a vaccine adjuvant. In the trial of 24 patients with mild to moderate asthma, the late-phase airway response was significantly reduced in the 12 patients who took SRL172, while in the placebo group there was no improvement. Patients who received SRL172 also demonstrated beneficial changes in immunological markers associated with inflammatory responses.

¿ Transgene, of Strasbourg, France, began a Phase I trial in the U.S. of MVA-HPV-IL2, a cancer vaccine designed to enhance the immune system's ability to reject cancer cells. The trial will involve patients with Grade 3 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. The vaccine consists of the company's vaccinia virus vector based on the MVA strain carrying genes from antigens from the human papilloma virus type 16.

¿ SkyePharma plc and SmithKline Beecham plc, both of London, entered into a development and licensing deal for a one-daily version of SKB's Parkinson's drug, Requip, using SkyePharma's Geomatrix oral delivery technology. SkyePharma, which will be responsible for development, will receive a US$8 million equity investment and potential milestone and royalty payments.